Zhang Zhan, 37, a former lawyer, is among Chinese journalists or citizens who went to Wuhan last year to report on the ongoing epidemic. Detained for more than six months in a detention center in Shanghai, she was accused of stirring up unrest on social media.
According to the indictment released on Monday, Zhang sent “false information through text, video and other media on media platforms such as WeChat, Twitter and YouTube. He also agreed to give interviews to Free Radio Asia and Epoch Times cross-border channels, speculating maliciously on the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan.
The prosecutor’s office demanded a sentence of 4 to 5 years.
The Chinese NGO Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) said Zhang reported “on his We Chat, Twitter and You Tube accounts” and on “detainees of other independent reporters and harassment of the families of the victims who demanded explanations.”
The announcement regarding the accusations brought against the journalist comes after a press report according to which the authorities do not transmit information about the case even to the family. According to the Radio Free Asia report, Zhang has been on hunger strike since September and one of his lawyers has been withdrawn.
Zhang was also detained by Chinese authorities on similar charges, but also for supporting Hong Kong activists. She also underwent psychiatric examinations, according to CHRD.
Several journalists were detained after reporting on the Wuhan epidemic that broke out in December last year.